Austal is to set up new design and project management office in South Australia. The new office is expected facilitate the company’s expansion into one of Australia’s two major shipbuilding hubs.
It will initially support preparations for the Australian Government’s $3bn offshore patrol vessel (OPV) project, which will see the company build 12 ships for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from next year. The office will also help Austal prepare for the Australian Government’s Future Frigate project, comprising nine vessels currently scheduled for construction in Adelaide from 2020 onwards. The company has entered into a joint venture (JV) with German designer Fassmer to carry out the OPV project, which aims to provide a customised, low-risk solution based on a proven design platform and build strategy that has successfully delivered seven similar vessels to date on an international basis.
“We’re committed to employing, training and developing the very best talent in shipbuilding design, engineering and manufacturing in Australia for this national endeavour.” Austal and Fassmer have agreed an equal partnership for the JV project, claiming 50% stake each. Austal chief executive officer David Singleton said: “A clear point of difference with our (Austal Fassmer) OPV solution is that the customised, detailed design for the OPV 80 will be completed by Australians in Australia, and led by an internationally competitive, successful Australian shipbuilder. “We’re committed to employing, training and developing the very best talent in shipbuilding design, engineering and manufacturing in Australia for this national endeavour.” Austal has invited expressions of interest from qualified and experienced shipbuilders to join the company’s expansion into the wider South Australia region.